CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Coe College played a season-high 18 players Tuesday night, as it they beat Iowa Wesleyan 3-0 at Eby Fieldhouse. The shutout was the seventh-straight win for the Kohawks.
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Iowa turned the page publicly toward this weekend’s Big Ten opener against Minnesota. But clearly the Hawkeyes’ past problems remain a focal point for the public.
Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg talked about the team’s problems in the passing game, which has produced one touchdown in four games. He also talked about not seeing a wide-open Kevonte Martin-Manley on fourth down.
Center James Ferentz opened up about the team’s past motivational problems against Minnesota and the need for emotion this week. Wide receiver Keenan Davis relived the onside kick that went against Iowa in Saturday’s 32-31 loss to Central Michigan.
The Williams and Hyatt Show in Lubbock, Texas broke down Saturday’s key Big 12 match-up between Iowa State and Texas Tech on Tuesday afternoon. The Gazette’s Scott Dochterman joined the radio show to talk about the Cyclones’ upswing, Paul Rhoads’ passion and the problems plaguing the Iowa Hawkeyes.
CEDAR RAPIDS – He didn’t see it live, but when former NFL official and Cedar Rapids native Bill Quinby woke up Tuesday – like every other American — it was the first thing he heard.
“I go to bed early, but (Tuesday) morning when I had coffee at seven, I probably had three to four people come up and say ‘Did you see that play,’” Quinby said. “And one lady, a Packer-backer, came and said, ‘They should have you back there.’”
At 80 years old, Quinby laughed at the suggestion, but wasn’t so jovial about the final play she was referring to. In the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks’ Monday night matchup, Seattle heaved a Hail Mary as time expired that officials ruled a simultaneous catch. They then ruled the Seahawks’ Golden Tate wrestled away for the game-winning touchdown.
In an era of Twitter and Facebook, it’s rare to get a nation to agree. Monday night and Tuesday morning it happened. Nearly every fan, analyst and player agreed the replacement officials got the call wrong. After seeing the play himself, Quinby co-signed with America’s opinion.
“I personally feel that there was a pass interference, on the push in the back,” Quinby said. “…Basically the deep man on the end line who had been looking in and called the touchdown, should have called that. OK so that would have solved everything.”
“My opinion, that was a defensive interception,” Quinby said.
The final swing and miss comes from the NFL and the locked out referees in the fact they are still at the negotiating table, with no signs of leaving it.
“I feel the integrity of the league is really getting tarnished, until they get this over,” Quinby said. “We’ve had four weeks of this, and each week seems to get more controversial.”
Through the first four weeks replacement officials mishandled simple calls such as the amount of timeouts a team used, available challenges, and the spot of the ball.
Week four the issues became paramount with miscalls cluttering two nationally televised games on Sunday in Baltimore and culminating in Seattle on Monday.
“I won’t say the worst because I’m not that smart or an historian, but it’s probably the most controversial call, play at the end of a game that the NFL’s had in a long, long time,” Quinby said.
The replacement officials hail from football levels as high as Division II to as low as junior college and high school. They have obscure lines on their resumes such as XFL official. And some weren’t even successful in lower level leagues. The Lingerie League, a women’s professional league who’s players wear the equivalent to a bikini and shoulder pads, announced Monday it fired officials, who are now working in the NFL, due to incompetence.
“Most of them are probably good officials in their area. They are probably community leaders. Some might be lawyers, some might be teachers. They are good people,” Quinby said. “But they are in over their heads and it’s getting worse each week.”
Quinby on the other hand worked five years in the Iowa conference in Division III, 13 years in the Big Ten. And he needed very second of it before he his 17 years in the NFL including an appearance in Super Bowl XIX.
“The Big Ten is fast, but the NFL is much faster and much better athletes. I mean the way they can jump. The way they can cut. The way they handle themselves,” Quinby said.
Quinby also pointed out when the league hires new officials, it usually brings in three to four new faces a season. This year there are 140 replacement referees making their debut.
There are no signs of a resolution between the league and the locked out officials this week. The two sides met Sunday and left with just as much disagreement as they started.
The main issue going forward is over future pensions for officials, something the NFL has been reluctant to submit to.
Quinby, who said he has been treated very well by the NFL and the pension he received didn’t have any inclination when the full-time officials might return. But he did have a wishful timeline and a sentiment a lot of NFL fans would agree with.
Said, Quinby, “Well I think it should be solved soon.”
IOWA CITY — James Vandenberg handles the ball every time he walks on the field. He’s the quarterback. If he sneezes, it’s on video and probably a GIF in the snark-tastic world of the world wide web.
He knew that. That’s what he signed up for. He hasn’t heard the “Put Jake Rudock in” call, not personally, anyway, but he knows it’s out there. The Iowa quarterback room is all business with a touch of good humor in the down time, but there’s no joking about this one.
Vandenberg’s humor is wearing thin. You know he wants this to work, and you know it pains him that it, simply, doesn’t.
“In all honesty, I only hear [the call for the backup, Rudock] from you guys,” Vandenberg said Tuesday. “I live in a cave. I go to school and I go to football and that’s about it during the season. I haven’t heard much of it.
“All you can do is keep trying to do your job and keep moving forward. You can’t control what people think. You just have to keep trying to get better and keep doing your job.”
Going into the Hawkeyes (2-2) Big Ten opener against Minnesota (4-0), the Iowa passing game is shipwrecked. Vandenberg is 11th in the conference in efficiency (111.07) and yards per attempt (6.3, 98th in the country, one spot behind Wisconsin’s Danny O’Brien, who was pulled this week). You know all too well he has just one TD pass this season after throwing 25 as a junior.
This is not all on Vandenberg, but in lieu of any specifics on what exactly is misfiring in the passing game (is it the “sight adjustments” introduced with first-year offensive coordinator Greg Davis?), the quick target of fan frustration and media scrutiny will be the quarterback.
This is a time-tested truism that will reign as long as football is on the planet. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz would like you to view the bigger picture.
“To just look at the quarterback, which I understand is what everybody does on offensive analysis, it’s not quite as simple as that,” Ferentz said. “I’ll just say this: I’m glad he’s our quarterback, and I’m glad he’s going to be our quarterback the next eight games. I think he’s a heck of a player, and I think he’s a heck of a young man.”
Given the chance to explain what’s being asked of Vandenberg, Ferentz doesn’t offer specifics. (Vandenberg did say earlier this season that in a quick-passing scheme, he eliminates up to 95 percent of the routes before the snap. And sight adjustments are something that need to be identified by the QB and receivers.)
“It’s a different language that he’s thinking. I mean, he’s thinking like all of us are thinking,” Ferentz said. “So, it’s a whole different language he’s thinking. Some of the plays are very different, and some aren’t, but I think we’re all beyond that.”
Before he grabbed the role as Iowa’s short-range punter this season, John Wienke played quarterback for the Hawkeyes. He and Vandenberg are close, both being fifth-year seniors and coming from small towns in Illinois and Iowa, respectively, about 230 miles apart.
Wienke points to the mileage and consistency Iowa has gotten out of Vandenberg, whose 2011 season bleeds everywhere in the Iowa record books (25 TDs is third all time; 3,022 yards is fourth; 404 pass attempts is No. 2; and 3,083 yards total offense is fifth all time).
“I don’t think there’s much need for that talk [call for the No. 2], he’s always done a good job,” Wienke said. “He’s pretty much always done what the game plan and the coaches have asked of him.”
Wienke knows the new Iowa passing game. It’s a pro-style offense in the same realm of what Iowa has run the last few years.
“I don’t think James is seeing the game any differently, I think it comes down to us running the offense right now,” Wienke said.
When you do get specifics, sometimes they don’t make a whole lot of sense.
In the first half in last week’s disappointing loss to Central Michigan, Vandenberg missed wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley for an easy touchdown. CMU ran a blitz. Martin-Manley broke off his route and ran into open space, where a safety should’ve been.
“People on the outside look at that and go, ‘Oh my God, look at that,’ ” Martin-Manley said, “but the thing is, it was a busted coverage and I wasn’t supposed to be that wide open. I didn’t run the exact route, I ran straight instead of breaking off on my corner.
“James didn’t know I was going to do that, that’s why he missed me.”
Maybe it’s better not to know the specifics.
DES MOINES — It’s voter registration day, which means it’s as good a day as any to register for those who haven’t voted in a while or to update voter registration if there’s been a move, name change, or party affiliation change.
Gov. Terry Branstad proclaimed Tuesday Iowa voter registration day to highlight the importance of registering for the upcoming Nov. 6 general election.
The Iowa Secretary of State has forms on his website and a program that allows voters to type in their name and zip code to see if they are registered and listed as an active voter.
Iowa is one of eight states to offer election day registration but voters must have proper identification including a picture ID and proof of address to register at the polls.
Early voting in Iowa begins on Thursday. Thousands of Iowans have registered to vote and many will become the first in the nation to cast ballots in the Nov. 6 general election.
In 2008, more than 30 percent of all votes in Iowa were cast before Election Day.
This year’s ballot includes candidates for president, as well as competitive congressional races in Iowa’s four districts that were redrawn by the Legislature based upon population data from the 2010 Census. Stagnant population growth caused Iowa to lose a congressional seat – causing U.S. Reps. Tom Latham, R-Clive, and Leonard Boswell, D-Des Moines, to be thrown together in the newly drawn 3rd congressional district encompassing the southwestern quadrant of Iowa.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Tuesday released a new Benenson Strategy Group poll that shows Boswell and Latham tied with both earning 45 percent of the survey respondents.
UPDATE: Two brothers were arrested Tuesday in connection with a pair of bomb threats.
Twice this school year, the threats shut down Iowa City’s Regina Catholic Education Center. The brothers are being held in the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center while police continue to investigate and school officials mull further punishment.
Austin Daniel Troyer, 17, and Alex Michael Troyer, 15, of Iowa City, were arrested Friday on suspicion of first-degree harassment, an aggravated misdemeanor. Both suspects face two counts each of the charge, which involved aiding and abetting because they acted in concert with two other people, according to the juvenile complaints.
The Regina Board of Education met Tuesday evening to discuss taking further action against the students, who are about one year apart – Alex Troyer will turn 16 in October and Austin Troyer turned 17 in August – and who are both listed as sophomores at Regina.
Iowa City police announced the boys’ arrests Tuesday morning after following up on several leads stemming from the most recent bomb threat on Sept. 19.
Police suspect a third person not affiliated with the Regina Catholic Education Center might have been involved, and further investigation is underway to identify and arrest that person, according to an Iowa City police news release.
Lee Iben, president and CEO of Regina, said the board is discussing how to go forward with the students, and he said administrators are glad to be moving toward a resolution in the case.
“It is a comfort at least to know the details surrounding this particular case,” Iben said, adding that administrators initially didn’t know who to suspect. “Whenever there is a situation of this nature, we don’t like to make assumptions of who it could and could not be.”
He did not disclose details about what investigators suspect prompted the threats and what involvement the brothers are accused of having, but Iben did say that there is no evidence indicating the students actually had bombs or a plan to harm the school or its students.
Regina sent information about the arrests out to parents on Tuesday.
In addition to losing classroom time on the days the threats were called in, the school incurred some monetary losses in the form of payroll expenses and operational costs, Iben said. The “safe zones” that accepted the hundreds of evacuated students provided space for free, Iben said, but some parents had to leave work to pick up their children early.
“It was certainly out of their routine,” he said, “that’s for sure.”
Colleen Rogers, who has one student in pre-kindergarten at Regina and one in first grade, told The Gazette during the last bomb threat on Sept. 19 that she had to wake her 1- and 4-year-old children from a nap to come pick up her 6-year-old early.
“I had to disrupt them and drag them out of the house,” she said. “It is frustrating.”
The first bomb threat happened Aug. 20 at 8:56 a.m. when police responded to the K-12 Catholic Education Center, 2150 Rochester Ave., following a phoned-in threat to the school. The caller said a bomb had been placed in the school, according to police, prompting school officials to evacuate the building, take all the students to a safe place and cancel classes for the day.
In addition to the Iowa City Police Department, the UI Police Department’s K-9 division and the Johnson County Bomb Squad searched the school but didn’t find any suspicious devices or packages.
On Sept. 19 at 12:14 p.m., a second threat came into Regina. This time, the caller indicated there was not an explosive in the school but that the caller would come into the school with an explosive device on his body if the school didn’t provide money, according to police.
Again, no suspicious packages or devices were found.
The threats forced the school to cancel classes on two days, but Iben said Regina counted the second threat as a full day of class, even though the day ended early. They made up for the complete loss of a day in August by using one of the snow days they had reserved.
Still, according to police, “Regina has incurred additional monetary expenses as the results of the threats and subsequent responses.
The total value of the damages is still being calculated, police reported.
AMES — Iowa State left cornerback Jeremy Reeves smiled at the question.
Yes, he’s quiet.
Yes, opposing quarterbacks have tended to avoid his side of the field.
And yes, that’s about to change.
“It’s coming this week,” said Reeves, who will make his 25th career start when Texas Tech brings its indiscriminate and powerful passing attack to Jack Trice Stadium for Saturday’s 6 p.m. Big 12 opener for both schools. “It doesn’t matter who it is. They’re throwing it wherever — no matter what corner, safety, nickel, whatever. They’re throwing the ball.”
That’s Tech, which like ISU stands 3-0 this season.
And Reeves has performed well against the free-wheeling Red Raiders.
In last season’s 41-7 win at Lubbock, he made five tackles, snared an interception and broke up a pass.
In 2010’s 52-38 triumph, he tied a single-game career-high in stops with 10, sprinkling in another pass breakup.
“Jeremy, he’s Jeremy,” ISU free safety Jacques Washington said. “He’s a corner you can count in and has been that way for the past three years.”
Blink and you’ll miss him.
That’s because respect for his experience and coverage skills have made him largely invisible this season.
“A lot of times it’s good when they’re not talking about a cornerback,” said Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads, whose team hopes to win its conference opener for the first time since 2002. “It’s good when he’s not having a lot of production because guys don’t feel they can go his way, or when (they do) it’s minimal and he makes simple plays that don’t create a lot of attention.”
Reeves grew up in Allen, Texas, near Dallas, dreaming of playing for an in-state or nearby Big 12 power.
It didn’t happen — mostly because he stands 5-7.
The snubs bothered him once, but don’t now.
“I don’t really worry about it anymore,” said Reeves, who was told by assistant coaches from Texas and Oklahoma they would have welcomed him if he were taller. “Some people had their opinion on who they wanted, what player they wanted to pick. I’m just proud to be a Cyclone and glad to be here right now playing under coach Rhoads. That’s all that matters to me.”
ISU defensive coordinator calls Reeves “a leader” and “a hard worker.”
He’ll face a tall — stress, tall — task against the Red Raiders.
Darrin Moore, Tech’s starting “Z” receiver, stands 6-4.
Top tight end Jace Amaro is 6-5.
Each has caught three touchdown passes this season for an offense averaging 597.6 yards per game.
“Better wide receivers, better competition,” Reeves said. “It’s going to be a tough test for is, but we’re going to see how it is.”
And fans will probably notice Reeves — and anyone else conceivably deployed in pass coverage — a lot.
What they won’t likely see are any deer-in-the-headlights looks.
“It’s amazing, man, just to see how we fly around when we watch film,” Reeves said. “But there’s room to get better. We’re not where we want to be. We haven’t played our best game yet. I’m just ready for it to come all out and have everybody clicking.”
TV TALK: Saturday’s game will be broadcast on Fox College Sports (FCS). It’s available to DirecTV and Mediacom Cable subscribers who also pay for a sports package. DISH Network does not carry FCS.
WOODY REMAINS QUESTIONABLE: ISU running back Jeff Woody has made progress with a knee injury sustained in the Sept. 15 win over Western Illinois. “He ran good (Sunday),” Rhoads said. “He did not practice, but he ran good. I’m hopeful he will play in this game.”